He sat atop his bed, flashlight in hand. He shone the beam of light about the clutter, giving him restricted vision of his bedroom. The boy eyed his closet, although at a glance nothing appeared wrong with it.
But he knew she would be upset.
He rose from the bed and crept past the toys scattered across the ground. He arrived at the two sliding doors, and opened them with care.
Once he did, a ragged face roared in his own, a terrible monstrosity that bore numerous rows of teeth, and a set of glowing eyes. The boy immediately shut the doors, and held them closed.
"Calm down, Vixen," he whispered through the blinds. "It's only me."
He slowly slid them back open, to see the metal being half-hidden behind the door. An arm rested at its side, a hook placed where its hand should have been. The boy closed and reopened the doors yet again, now only to find his plush Foxy the Pirate, sitting right where he had left it the other day.
He sighed relief, and removed himself from the closet. He didn't understand why this procedure calmed her down, but however sage he considered it didn't matter. It worked, and that was that. So upon his mattress he found himself thereafter, shining his light as he had before.
And given a silent moment or two the boy got up to check his door. Just to be safe.
He stood in the dark opening and listened. For anything that would indicate something before him, shrouded in the nightly darkness. But after a while no sound was to he heard, so he turned his flashlight on.
It beamed down the hallway, revealing to him two windows that shone murky blackness, a picture frame upon the wall, a table and vase, and a yellow phantom. The creature secluded itself from the hall, perhaps in fear of the blinding light.
But the boy knew what it was.
"Don't be scared, Pazi," he spoke. "It's me, remember?"
He found himself on the bed soon after, as he scanned the room for any more danger. The flashlight's luster rested upon his second door, the opening located to his left. The boy didn't understood why his bedroom possessed two doors. He didn't recall ever having a second.
But the thought didn't come to mind at the moment. Not with his life on the line.
He tiptoed to that door and listened, following the same method the opposite had required. Although this time, a heavy breathing sounded in front of him, and he knew to close the door at once. He held it shut, leaning his head up against the wooden barrier.
"It's okay, Leveret," he consoled. "It'll be okay."
The boy could soon hear no more breath, and he opened the door to be sure. And as he shone his light down the hall, the illusive being was gone.
He spied the towering grandfather clock at the end of the hallway, its various hands spelling out the time of night.
That meant only a few more hours, and he would be safe. He just needed to hold on. Just a little while longer.
The boy turned back to his bed and once more sat on it, not at all planning to use it for its intended purpose. He would not sleep tonight. Nor would he ever sleep again, he felt. Not with them at his throat every single night.
But he just couldn't understand why. Why would they ever want to hurt him?
Could they have possibly known? That Albert had stood and watched?
Pazi, Leveret, and Vixen had already been lifeless, as he gazed into that mysterious backroom. Surely they couldn't have known—at least, Albert tried to convince himself of that.
However, Bernard had seen him. Albert had heard his feeble cry for help, to which the little boy had done absolutely nothing. Nothing but silently bawl. He saw and witnessed his friends being hidden away, and Bernard tear into pieces before his very eyes. To that Albert couldn't hold in his grief, and screamed alongside the tortured child. Immediately he had run, as quickly as his little legs could carry him. Out of that damned pizzeria, far away from the killer he had watched, and straight to his home.
Albert didn't recall much else of that fateful night—the looks on his parents' faces, their inquiries of his well-being, and their persistence to get him to answer one single question. But he didn't talk a lot that evening, nor the days following. Though his parents continued to try, Albert never confessed. His mind was always in a different place, a trail he would never let anyone follow.
Those four kids had always been so kind to him; they had treated him like a friend, even though they were years older than him. Except for Pazi, of course.
He and she couldn't have been more opposite, yet despite she had considered him one of her closest friends. Even though he didn't speak much, she was probably much obliged to speak for him. She really did like to talk.
But no matter how shy he acted, she was always there for him. Why she even bothered with him, the boy never understood. And now he never would. His best friend Pazi was gone, along with her caring friends, Vixen and Leveret. And her brother—
He had forgotten Bernard.
The boy froze in place, cross-legged atop the bed. He didn't move, nor did he dare breathe. He should have checked back there before, but there was no use in looking now.
A slight gust blew on the boy's neck, sending a chill down his spine. He trembled with vigor, and couldn't keep the tears from falling.
"Bernard," he whimpered. "It's me. Remember?"
A loud exhale rustled his brown hair. He knew it was over.
"It's me, Albert. Remember?"
The boy closed his eyes, and wept all the more. "Please remember. Don't hurt me, please."
Albert opened his eyes at the feel, the touch of cold metal on his arm. His breath revved like a motor.
"I'm sorry, Bernard! Please!" he begged, only to find his efforts vain.
Suddenly the child felt himself leave his bed, as two clawed hands pierced his sides and hoisted him into the air. He was forced to look at its face, to gaze into the embodiment of terror.
The chief mascot of Freddy Fazbear's Pizza, and the resting place of his friend.
Albert let out a scream that could shatter china, yet the tattered demon seemed unphased. It returned to him with a scream of its own, a catastrophic bellow that could strike fear into those that bore the misfortune of hearing it.
"Bernard! It's me!" the child wailed. "It's me!"
It didn't hear, or it didn't understand. Or perhaps it didn't care.
"It's me, Albert! Please remember me!"
Tears made waterfalls down his cheeks, as he knew his end was near.
"I'm sorry! Don't hurt me! Please!"
Alas, Albert would not get his wish. As if his plea were a trigger, the monster brought the boy toward itself. Down into its hinged maw, where rows upon rows of razor teeth jutted like spikes.
And he screamed louder than he ever had. Until he would reach his terrible demise, in the jaws of his friend.
Well, at least...
Until he awoke.
"Albert! Wake up!"
"Oh God. Please wake up!"
The two held the screaming and squirming child, trying to prod him awake.
"Sweetie, please!" the woman cried, gently shaking his shoulder.
"C'mon, Al! Wake up!" the man begged, quite scared out of his mind. He held the boy's head in his hand, stroking his thumb against his temple.
Then suddenly, Albert opened his eyes. He stared at the ceiling a few seconds, shocked that he was alive and well. Rivers had already formed down his face, and he found it difficult to keep a breath. He looked the woman, and then at the man.
"Mommy," he bawled. "Daddy!"
The boy burst from the bed and threw himself into his mother's arms, and his father was soon to join them. He glanced over the woman's shoulder at his bedroom's leftmost wall, and found that the second doorway had disappeared once again.
"Oh dear God," his mother exhaled, struggling to breathe normally herself. "It's alright, honey. It's all over."
Though the boy would not stop crying. "They wanted to hurt me!" he shouted. "They wanted to hurt me!"
"Who, Al?" his father desperately asked, as he had for the past three days. "Please, who was trying to hurt you?"
But Albert wouldn't answer. He didn't say who or what. Perhaps he was too upset to say, or too scarred to recall.
"It was just a nightmare, honey," his mother assured. "They can't hurt you anymore. They're gone now."
"No they're not!" Albert retorted, as he rested fully in the woman's arms. "They'll come back!"
The man placed a hand on the boy's shoulder. "No they won't," he promised. "We won't let them get you, okay? They won't get you ever again."
Albert continued to weep in his parents' embrace, as they tried their hardest to calm him down.
"You know, some people actually like to sleep!"
An irritated voice came from the sole doorway, belonging to quite an irritated young man. He looked like he had dragged himself out of bed, which is probably exactly what had happened.
"Damian Gregory!" his father named, equipping the full-name threat. "Go back to bed!"
The child rolled his eyes. "Yeah, I'd love to!" he snarked, as he began to make his way back to his bedroom. "Maybe if Sir Shrieks-A-Lot kept it down I could stay there!"
The adults found it pointless to reprimand him any further. No amount of scolding or firm tones would intimidate him. None had for the past twelve years.
"Please, Albert, who was trying to hurt you?" his mother tried once more, but it seemed that she was not going to receive an answer.
"They died!" Albert said instead, which made his parents freeze in shock. "They're gone! He made them die!"
The two didn't know what to say. Their six-year-old son was speaking of...dying.
"Who made who die?"
Though none of the three on the bed had uttered those words, but a sleepy little girl. She stood in the hallway and peered into the bedroom, clutching her stuffed bunny's ear in her hand.
"Mommy, did someone die?"
The woman's heart skipped a beat. "No, Baby. No one died," her mother told. "Please go back to bed, okay?"
The young lady rubbed her eyes and yawned, but then turned right around, dragging her white rabbit along the ground.
So there the parents stayed, holding the terrified Albert in their arms, and consoling him in soft whispers.
"It will be alright."
"It was only a dream."
"They can't hurt you anymore."
"Don't worry, we're here."
It was all false however. And Albert knew it.
Nothing was alright.
It wasn't just a dream.
They would never stop.
And it didn't matter who was with him. They would be there, and they would continue. They would try and try again, and then keep on trying, until they finally succeeded in their attempt. Albert wouldn't live to see his victory, because he would have none. His friends, his only friends in the world, would find him. And they would take him.
They knew. They knew he had just watched. Whether he be sitting underneath the dining table, or standing in the doorway, all Albert had ever done was watch.
He had had the opportunity to find if Pazi was alright when she had entered the restrooms.
Yet he only watched.
He had discovered that going back in that room made people vanish, and observed Vixen and Leveret doing just that.
Yet he only watched.
He saw Bernard enter that very room, alongside that very man that gave it its reputation.
Yet he only watched.
That was all he ever did, and that was all he was good for. Albert had let them die; it was all his fault. And he was paying for it now, their restless spirits made sure of it. Their angry and tormented souls had returned to haunt his sleep. He didn't need to worry about missing his friends, for now they would never leave his side. They had the entire afterlife to play their little game; there was no reason for them to ever stop.
Perhaps this was the eternity he deserved.
Albert had thought that they would be gone, that death would be their end. That they indeed would never come back.
Perhaps he was wrong.
Yet he had never wanted anything to be truer.